Brand-free January

Mark Earls suggests giving up the word “brand” for January.

Of course, “brand” is nice, it’s floppy and flexible, it makes you seem professional, it’s popular – it’s widely recognised in all kinds of circles – but is it really that useful?

Does it help as much as it seems to? Isn’t its ‘fatness’ – the many different things folk mean by ‘brand’ – actually a weakness? Is it perhaps more “phat” than just ‘fat’ – more about our relationship with our conversation partners than about the thing itself? […]


We could just try to be clear what we mean by the shorthand…

I’m in…

Mis-used, over-used, misunderstood.

I think we might get along better for trying to work around it…

Let he who is without a web shadow cast the first stone

Don't inhale, don't explete: Obama jobs demand spotless web shadows from applicants

Image: Photoshopping Obama into Rasta colours might not be a plus point if you’re applying for a job at the White House…

According to The Economist, applicants for jobs in the new Obama adminstration are undergoing rigorous background checks, including submitting “a history of their activities on the Internet, including copies of any emails which might embarrass Mr Obama, links to social networking pages, blogs, and the usernames or “handles” under which any of them were written”.

So knowing what your web shadow looks like is going to be a must there then…

This may have been an election campaign that played to the social meida grandstand, but old rules of politics and the media are still very much in play.

If we’re to be optimistic, the Economist has a bit of wishful thinking:

Perhaps, when dirt on almost everybody becomes readily available, politics will lose its hypocritical, moralistic tone.

You’d hope so…

Spread social media literacy (and save the world)

Image: Howard Rheingold says "Spread the (social media) love"
Image: Howard Rheingold says spread the (social media) love

Here’s a New Year’s Resolution for you that might do some real good: teach someone at work or in your family how to use social media tools.

Actually New Year’s Resolution is too weak a way to frame this. It’s a call to arms. A plea to your humanity.

Feeling revolutionary itch but not sure how to start scratching with a mortgage/student debts/rent to pay? This is how.

Why? Because our future’s at stake…

Howard Rheingold‘s written an essay with the catchily academic title “Partcipative Pedagogy for a Literacy of Literacies“:

The alphabet did not cause the Roman Empire, but made it possible. Printing did not cause democracy or science, but literate populations, enabled by the printing press, devised systems for citizen governance and collective knowledge creation. The Internet did not cause open source production, Wikipedia or emergent collective responses to natural disasters, but it made it possible for people to act together in new ways, with people they weren’t able to organize action with before, in places and at paces for which collective action had never been possible. Literacies are the prerequisite for the human agency that used alphabets, presses and digital networks to create wealth, alleviate suffering and invent new institutions.

Helping others to understand how to use a wiki or create a Facebook group and you are spreading a new kind of literacy.

A literacy in participative media, or for the sake of not clouding the terminology in this blog, a social media literacy.

A widespread ability to use social computing tools will be the basis for a New Enlightenment of sorts:

The more people who know how to use participatory media to learn, inform, persuade, investigate, reveal, advocate and organize, the more likely the future infosphere will allow, enable and encourage liberty and participation. Such literacy can only make action possible, however, it is not in the technology, or even in the knowledge of how to use it, but in the ways people use knowledge and technology to create wealth, secure freedom, resist tyranny.

Image: Facebook groups - one small step...
Image: Facebook groups - one small step...

It reminds me how some friends of mine used Facebook – about which a year or two back they were very sceptical, to organise a protest. It worked, insofar as it gained momentum, grew, sustained itself and attracted attention.

The lessons from that are with them always. And next time, if their neighbourhood is threatened by some planning travesty, or their lives are affected by bureacratic stupidity they have a network and knowledge of networks and social media tools that they will be even quicker to pick up and more adept at using when they do so…

Responding to Howard Rheingold’s essay, Prof Mike Wesch says: “I employ social media in the classroom with a sense of urgency”.

It’s not just that we have so much to gain by as many people as possible being literate in this new medium, but that we have much to lose by there not being mass social media literacy.

Wesch says:

We use social media in the classroom not because our students use it, but because we are afraid that social media might be using them – that they are using social media blindly, without recognition of the new challenges and opportunities they might create.

So here’s some simple ideas that I might try out to spread social media literacy…

  • Help someone set up an RSS reader to get all their news and blogs…
  • Record a brilliant presentation or speech and distribute it on SlideShare, a blog, a podcast, a video..
  • Show them how to organise that event or holiday on a wiki…
  • Help someone looking for a job or freelancing to make more of LinkedIn and a couple of other tools (BTW this article, written about journalism, can teach any freelancer or contractor a thing or two)
  • Volunteer to help a sports or cultural club to get some of their stuff online in a better way…
  • Show someone who has set up a cause on Facebook to set up their own blog / website and use other tools to further their activism…

With the iCrossing team I published What is Social Media? a while back – maybe I should start a project to add to that with more “how to” examples…

It’s not just that one project that you’ll be supporting, you’ll be spreading a new kind of web literacy that really will change the world.

What else can we do? Run some evening classes? Offer online coaching…

Via John Naughton.

: : Bonus social media literacy links… One of the nicest and most practical resources for getting up to speed on social media tools and other web-related stuff is the set videos from the Commoncraft Show. One of my favourites is the wiki video, which does a perfect job of simplifying and explaining a powerful online tool:

Spread social media literacy (and save the world)

Image: Howard Rheingold says "Spread the (social media) love"
Image: Howard Rheingold says spread the (social media) love

Here’s a New Year’s Resolution for you that might do some real good: teach someone at work or in your family how to use social media tools.

Actually New Year’s Resolution is too weak a way to frame this. It’s a call to arms. A plea to your humanity.

Feeling revolutionary itch but not sure how to start scratching with a mortgage/student debts/rent to pay? This is how.

Why? Because our future’s at stake…

Howard Rheingold‘s written an essay with the catchily academic title “Partcipative Pedagogy for a Literacy of Literacies“:

The alphabet did not cause the Roman Empire, but made it possible. Printing did not cause democracy or science, but literate populations, enabled by the printing press, devised systems for citizen governance and collective knowledge creation. The Internet did not cause open source production, Wikipedia or emergent collective responses to natural disasters, but it made it possible for people to act together in new ways, with people they weren’t able to organize action with before, in places and at paces for which collective action had never been possible. Literacies are the prerequisite for the human agency that used alphabets, presses and digital networks to create wealth, alleviate suffering and invent new institutions.

Helping others to understand how to use a wiki or create a Facebook group and you are spreading a new kind of literacy.

A literacy in participative media, or for the sake of not clouding the terminology in this blog, a social media literacy.

A widespread ability to use social computing tools will be the basis for a New Enlightenment of sorts:

The more people who know how to use participatory media to learn, inform, persuade, investigate, reveal, advocate and organize, the more likely the future infosphere will allow, enable and encourage liberty and participation. Such literacy can only make action possible, however, it is not in the technology, or even in the knowledge of how to use it, but in the ways people use knowledge and technology to create wealth, secure freedom, resist tyranny.

Image: Facebook groups - one small step...
Image: Facebook groups - one small step...

It reminds me how some friends of mine used Facebook – about which a year or two back they were very sceptical, to organise a protest. It worked, insofar as it gained momentum, grew, sustained itself and attracted attention.

The lessons from that are with them always. And next time, if their neighbourhood is threatened by some planning travesty, or their lives are affected by bureacratic stupidity they have a network and knowledge of networks and social media tools that they will be even quicker to pick up and more adept at using when they do so…

Responding to Howard Rheingold’s essay, Prof Mike Wesch says: “I employ social media in the classroom with a sense of urgency”.

It’s not just that we have so much to gain by as many people as possible being literate in this new medium, but that we have much to lose by there not being mass social media literacy.

Wesch says:

We use social media in the classroom not because our students use it, but because we are afraid that social media might be using them – that they are using social media blindly, without recognition of the new challenges and opportunities they might create.

So here’s some simple ideas that I might try out to spread social media literacy…

  • Help someone set up an RSS reader to get all their news and blogs…
  • Record a brilliant presentation or speech and distribute it on SlideShare, a blog, a podcast, a video..
  • Show them how to organise that event or holiday on a wiki…
  • Help someone looking for a job or freelancing to make more of LinkedIn and a couple of other tools (BTW this article, written about journalism, can teach any freelancer or contractor a thing or two)
  • Volunteer to help a sports or cultural club to get some of their stuff online in a better way…
  • Show someone who has set up a cause on Facebook to set up their own blog / website and use other tools to further their activism…

With the iCrossing team I published What is Social Media? a while back – maybe I should start a project to add to that with more “how to” examples…

It’s not just that one project that you’ll be supporting, you’ll be spreading a new kind of web literacy that really will change the world.

What else can we do? Run some evening classes? Offer online coaching…

Via John Naughton.

: : Bonus social media literacy links… One of the nicest and most practical resources for getting up to speed on social media tools and other web-related stuff is the set videos from the Commoncraft Show. One of my favourites is the wiki video, which does a perfect job of simplifying and explaining a powerful online tool:

Spread social media literacy (and save the world)

Image: Howard Rheingold says "Spread the (social media) love"
Image: Howard Rheingold says spread the (social media) love

Here’s a New Year’s Resolution for you that might do some real good: teach someone at work or in your family how to use social media tools.

Actually New Year’s Resolution is too weak a way to frame this. It’s a call to arms. A plea to your humanity.

Feeling revolutionary itch but not sure how to start scratching with a mortgage/student debts/rent to pay? This is how.

Why? Because our future’s at stake…

Howard Rheingold‘s written an essay with the catchily academic title “Partcipative Pedagogy for a Literacy of Literacies“:

The alphabet did not cause the Roman Empire, but made it possible. Printing did not cause democracy or science, but literate populations, enabled by the printing press, devised systems for citizen governance and collective knowledge creation. The Internet did not cause open source production, Wikipedia or emergent collective responses to natural disasters, but it made it possible for people to act together in new ways, with people they weren’t able to organize action with before, in places and at paces for which collective action had never been possible. Literacies are the prerequisite for the human agency that used alphabets, presses and digital networks to create wealth, alleviate suffering and invent new institutions.

Helping others to understand how to use a wiki or create a Facebook group and you are spreading a new kind of literacy.

A literacy in participative media, or for the sake of not clouding the terminology in this blog, a social media literacy.

A widespread ability to use social computing tools will be the basis for a New Enlightenment of sorts:

The more people who know how to use participatory media to learn, inform, persuade, investigate, reveal, advocate and organize, the more likely the future infosphere will allow, enable and encourage liberty and participation. Such literacy can only make action possible, however, it is not in the technology, or even in the knowledge of how to use it, but in the ways people use knowledge and technology to create wealth, secure freedom, resist tyranny.

Image: Facebook groups - one small step...
Image: Facebook groups - one small step...

It reminds me how some friends of mine used Facebook – about which a year or two back they were very sceptical, to organise a protest. It worked, insofar as it gained momentum, grew, sustained itself and attracted attention.

The lessons from that are with them always. And next time, if their neighbourhood is threatened by some planning travesty, or their lives are affected by bureacratic stupidity they have a network and knowledge of networks and social media tools that they will be even quicker to pick up and more adept at using when they do so…

Responding to Howard Rheingold’s essay, Prof Mike Wesch says: “I employ social media in the classroom with a sense of urgency”.

It’s not just that we have so much to gain by as many people as possible being literate in this new medium, but that we have much to lose by there not being mass social media literacy.

Wesch says:

We use social media in the classroom not because our students use it, but because we are afraid that social media might be using them – that they are using social media blindly, without recognition of the new challenges and opportunities they might create.

So here’s some simple ideas that I might try out to spread social media literacy…

  • Help someone set up an RSS reader to get all their news and blogs…
  • Record a brilliant presentation or speech and distribute it on SlideShare, a blog, a podcast, a video..
  • Show them how to organise that event or holiday on a wiki…
  • Help someone looking for a job or freelancing to make more of LinkedIn and a couple of other tools (BTW this article, written about journalism, can teach any freelancer or contractor a thing or two)
  • Volunteer to help a sports or cultural club to get some of their stuff online in a better way…
  • Show someone who has set up a cause on Facebook to set up their own blog / website and use other tools to further their activism…

With the iCrossing team I published What is Social Media? a while back – maybe I should start a project to add to that with more “how to” examples…

It’s not just that one project that you’ll be supporting, you’ll be spreading a new kind of web literacy that really will change the world.

What else can we do? Run some evening classes? Offer online coaching…

Via John Naughton.

: : Bonus social media literacy links… One of the nicest and most practical resources for getting up to speed on social media tools and other web-related stuff is the set videos from the Commoncraft Show. One of my favourites is the wiki video, which does a perfect job of simplifying and explaining a powerful online tool:

“True opportunity appears at the market bottom…”

Image: Pollyanna - a mascot for optimism apologists everywhere
Image: Pollyanna - a mascot for optimism apologists everywhere

It’s funny how, like me, people have to caveat finding things to be optimistic about in 2009 with phrases like “I’m not being Pollyanna-ish”.

Saying that the Great Disruption may bring good, or at least a lot of opportunities for good things to start, and somehow you feel it’s 1997 and you’re explaining to a roomful of disapproval that no you don’t feel the need to offer a floral tribute or stay in and watch Diana’s funeral procession.

Yet here’s a VC (Peter Rip) saying some sensible things about the downturn:

As the fire continues to rage in financial markets, it is hard to imagine when Opportunity will reappear. But the truth is when everyone sees Opportunity; they are only seeing the reflection.  True Opportunity appears at the market bottom, not at the top.   It’s times like these that test what you believe in, and I believe in the Business Cycle, Human Creativity, and the stimulative effect of massive Government spending. 2009 and 2010 will be great times to invest to reap the benefits in 2012-2014, for those who can judge both business risk and liquidity risk, and have the courage of their convictions.

Via Doc Searls / Tim O’Reilly